The 2018 Atlanta Real Estate Market (so far)

The 2018 Atlanta real estate market continues to give many agita due to a myriad of issues. Sellers can sell fast but should they? Buyers are competing with low inventory and rising rates. Below are several key indicators for the six counties that comprise the north metro Atlanta real estate market (Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Forsyth). Six counties, six key charts looking back three years on a quarterly basis.

The chatter everywhere is about the shortage of listings, this tends to be demonstrated by the graphs. The number of listings in each county is down; also clearly evident are the seasonal fluctuations. Forsyth County, while down, appears to be the least impacted.

Why move? If you’re locked in at 2-3% on a mortgage, the house works and all is well, why upset that? Even if it sells fast and for a nice profit, now you’re in the soup looking; paying a higher rate, commissions, moving expenses…for what?

And fewer listings mean fewer sales. Again we see the seasonal spikes and over the three years all areas are down. But…some counties are seeing the same low (or lower) number of sales that have been seen over the years, some counties have more sales now than in the past….

Homes are selling fast;  ask a few frustrated buyers dealing with 1 day listings and multiple offers. But overall, the market should be used to this. The appealing, well presented and well priced homes are pounced upon, this is clear. It’s been a bit more feverish over the last year.

This isn’t 2009-2010, don’t play the low ball game and expect to win. While there is always a “flip-distressed” segment around Atlanta, the “average” home is getting close to list price. Some micromarkets are seeing over list; point is, know the market and trends before you toss an 80% offer out there and waste everyone’s time.

So of course sellers are exploiting the advantage when possible, the steady rise in median list price is evident and fully expected. The need for caution here cannot be overemphasized; if you’re a buyer and your agent isn’t slicing and dicing the data, you’re going to overpay. If you’re a seller and your agent doesn’t understand how to work with the appraiser, your appraisal will come in low.

And unlike the nonsense from the Nat’l Assoc of Realtors and Case-Shiller, values are not increasing everywhere. Even at the county level, Fulton and Dekalb are largely flat. This is too broad of course but just know that everything is hyper local; school district, price range, age range and even design…

So what are the takeaways? The usual boring advice of work only with experienced agents, define success and understand and trust the data; understand what is happening. Never forget that this is a major business transaction; treat it that way. There is absolutely no doubt that many buyers are overpaying – I see it both in sales and appraisals. Rates are and continue to move up…be careful, call us.

And last – this is BROAD BROAD data; we slice and dice and get very local for our clients. We’re not buying or selling, you are. We ensure that our clients act with complete confidence; this is all we do, all day all every day.

Questions? Maybe we should talk.

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